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Discussion in 'Mobile Phones / Entertainment' started by Ronald Epstein, Aug 31, 2004.
Click Here to Read The Review
Thanks for the review and pictures Ron.
How extensive is the database of restaurants, ATMs etc? For example around your house (where you're familiar with everything) how deep are the listings? Everything, half, less than half?
Does it have Rest Stops as an option? My girlfriend can't go far without knowing where the next gas station or rest stop is on the highway.
Please report back after a couple of roadtrips. Let us know how good the reception is in a big city with lots of tall buildings around (like Manhattan, downtown Chicago or Philadelphia etc)
Will this device learn updated information?
It's a toy (sorry, TOOL) I'd love to have but I worry that it will age badly.
Speaking of "love to have", can it be pulled off that stalk to make it less accessable to smash and grab types?
I will find out the answer to the "upgrade" question.
That is a GREAT question. Will have an answer for
you by the end of tomorrow. Waiting for tech support
to call me back.
As far as the windshield mount is concerned....
A simple button at the bottom of the cradle releases
the head unit from the windshield mount so you can
hide the unit from would-be thieves.
I also own a GPS unit although mine is made by Garmin. After my research, I came up with some important issues that every potential buyer should be aware of:
- There are units meant for road use, wilderness use, & airplane use. The airplane units allow you to track the GPS satellites while at a high rate of speed. The road units allow you to 'follow the road' when traveling to a destination. The wilderness units may _show_ the road but may not be able to calculate directions using the roads. I returned my Garmin Vista (a hiking-only unit) for a multi-capable unit so I could use it on the road.
- How does the screen look in bright sunlight and dark conditions? Is it washed out or easy to read?
- How many maps does the unit store? Some road-only units have the memory capacity to store the entire U.S. while others make you upload map segments from CD-ROMs. I wanted a smaller unit so the tradeoff was less memory.
- Does the unit allow map updates? Most companies will release a new version of software and there will be an upgrade charge. Some road-only units do _not_ have an update capability (which is crucial IMO).
- Is the antenna sufficient? This is particularly important in cities and near mountains where the signals could be obstructed.
- Is the unit easy to use while you are driving? You should be able to get all the pertinent info with a quick glance at the unit. A larger screen size allows more info to be displayed. My unit (which has a smaller screen) switches the screens to alert me of upcomming turns or destinations... I don't find this to be a problem.
- Does the unit come with the maps and mounting kits? This can be a significant added expense.
FWIW, I have the Garmin GPS60CS which I use for road travel as well as outdoor pursuits. Highly recommended for a multi-purpose unit...
Hey Ron nice review. From what you've written, it sounds as if there is a one time fee. There is no monthly charge to use the GPS that the unit connects to, is it?
there is no fee. The GPS satellite system were developed for military use but has now found a home in the private sector. Anyone with a GPS receiver can use them with no charge.
Up until a few years ago the military purposely messed with the signal so that civilian GPS receivers were less accurate. However that has changed. I know two soldiers who were shipped to Iraq and took civilian GPSrs with them.
I did forget to write something concerning
the display in bright sunlight. I will add comments
in the review later today.
The RoadMate does a very good job of displaying
a readable image in strong sunlight. It has an
auto-brightness and auto-contrast feature that
adjusts to day and night conditions.
As has already been answered, there is no monthly
charge to use the GPS unit.
Though I still have not heard back from tech support
about updating the road maps, I do see that Magellan
has software updates available on their website at
no extra charge. I am uncertain if these are just
firmware updates or map udates as well.
Ron you are an inspiration to the gadget geek inside me. Thanks for the review, and I'm hoping you get a credit increase on your card for future reviews! Ha ha, congrats on your new toy.
This sounds like a fantastic tool, but I'm a little worried about its accuracy. I've found that a lot of online maps (mapquest and the like) are a little lacking in accuracy. I've had cases where maps send you down streets that don't exist (anymore, yet, or ever), or the wrong way down one way streets. I wonder, does this happen with this unit's database? What about the extent of maps for rural and residential areas? I'm thinking of times when I've needed to break out maps heading for cottage country, and suspect that this is an area where a gadget like this might be lacking.
Also, is the unit able to detect a deviation from a planned route and compensate? Say, for example, you're following the provided directions, but hit a detour. Will the magellan be able to detect that you've deviated from its route, and either give you directions to get back to it, or be able to pick up when you rejoin it?
Last idea (and I really doubt this one), but is the unit able to download data from other sources? I'm thinking of an upgrade where realtime road and traffic conditions can be streamed into the unit to aid in the route planning algorithm.
Needless to say, I want one now, if for no other reason than to see how it works (and try to make it better!). No wonder I became an Engineer
Nice review, Ron. Now you've got me seriously jonesin' for one of these puppies for my road trip out to CA in 2 weeks.
Chris (& everyone), here's the link to Magellan's RoadMate 700 product page, which answers some of these questions:
As Craig has answered, yes, the RoadMate immediately
compensates for any route deviations. On the roads I
know I don't always follow RoadMate's reccomendation
so when I make a wrong turn it automatically recalculates
the route based on the wrong turn.
Although I have still not heard back from tech
support I do believe that the maps are upgradeable.
I just did a rather large FIRMWARE update this morning
by hooking my RoadMate up to the computer. The display
now has split-screen guidance that really is a huge
improvement. There also seems to be more Points of
Interest added to the maps.
....so, yes, I do believe you can constantly download
new upgrades for this product.
I don't believe the unit is equipped for real-time
road conditions. Would be neat if it could do that!
On the map updates question, I found this information in a review at ZDNet:
Seems a little odd that they would be using Compact Flash instead of the USB port on the unit, but this review was from January, so they may have been looking at an older version of the unit. Hopefully Ron will find out more about this from their tech support - there doesn't seem to be anything on their web site.
FWIW, I did some quick online price shopping, and found the RoadMate 700 for about $1050 at both tigergps.com and cartoys.com.
I'll get back to you on how extensive the list of
restaurants and other stuff is.
My guess is not extremely extensive.
The RoadMate had problems locating BJs Warehouse
under Grocery Store. This was before I did the new
firmware upgrade so perhaps it is in there now.
Give me some time to play with this a little more
and I promise to get back to you on that question.
This unit has been on my gadget want list since it was introduced. On the question of brightness......do you think
it would work in open top car with top down? I would be using in 2004 BMW Z4 roadster.
Ron, how long is the windshield mounting arm?? I have one of those really deep windshields. Smaller folks could probably stretch out on my dash and take a nap...
Here is a picture of the windshield mount that
Typing from memory, it seems to have a rather lengthy
extension. In my car (a Mercury Cougar) it actually
sticks out past the dash.
I am going to a party tomorrow. I'll ride with
the sunroof open so I can see how sunlight affects
the display. I'll get back to you.
Hey Dave BB thanks for the reply.